Climate Change

Negotiations pick pace as US proposes amendment text on exempted countries

The amendment text proposed by the US allows HFC exemption for 34 countries, mostly from the Middle East and Africa

 
By Rakesh Kamal
Last Updated: Friday 08 April 2016
The proposed list of exempted countries was strategically read out instead of being provided along with the amendment text (Photo courtesy: www.iisd.ca)
The proposed list of exempted countries was strategically read out instead of being provided along with the amendment text (Photo courtesy: www.iisd.ca) The proposed list of exempted countries was strategically read out instead of being provided along with the amendment text (Photo courtesy: www.iisd.ca)

Parties to the Montreal Protocol finally started discussing the different challenges they face on the third day of talks at the 37th Open-ended Working Group in Geneva. 

The discussion extended late into the night with an extra session and covered challenges like finance, intellectual property rights (IPR), flexibility, exemptions, relationship with Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFCs) phase-out, non-party trade provisions and legal aspects of moving HFCs from UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to the Montreal Protocol. 

Most of the challenges had been identified and discussed in the Dubai meeting last year and a fierce debate was expected as parties had enough time to work on and present their concerns and possible solutions. 

After a number of informal closed door sessions with some countries, the US put forward a proposal by submitting an amendment text on High Ambient Temperature (HAT) countries for negotiation. This has been a long-standing demand of Middle Eastern countries as available technology is not suitable for or has not been tested for HAT countries. The amendment text proposed by the US uses the Centre for Environmental Data Archival (CEDA) to derive the daily highest temperatures. It allows exemption for 34 countries, mostly from the Middle East and Africa. The list of countries was strategically read out instead of being provided along with the amendment text. One would assume that India would make it to the list, but the country was not considered for HAT exemption because it does not satisfy all the parameters as per the data set chosen carefully. Although there were many models to define High Ambient Temperatures, the data sets were chosen so as to include some specific countries. 

The amendment text allows an exemption for Parties (countries) where an average of at least two months per year over 10 consecutive years witness a peak monthly average temperature of above 35°C. Multi-split air conditioners for commercial and residential purposes, split ducted air conditioners (residential and commercial) and ducted commercial packaged (self-contained) air conditioners were include in the list of exempted equipment which can use HFCs for four additional years even after the phase-down in HAT countries. 

IPR is another major impediment and India repeated its stand by saying that all expenses incurred for IPR should be paid by the multilateral fund of the protocol. But experts felt that the discussion was not as exhaustive as expected as IPR has always been described as a major impediment from the time the negotiations began. Many delegates and participants were surprised that the discussion was cut short and want it to be bought back to the table or discussed in informal meetings.

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